Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking forward to the new year

I am really looking forward to 2011. I feel so grateful to be welcoming in the new year with our new daughter, Sami.

All of the sudden today, it's as though we have a new child. We are trying a new formula, and although the pediatrician says it will take 24 hours to know if it will make a difference, after just 15 hours I'm cautiously optimistic. The screaming has basically stopped, and while her congestion and reflux are not completely gone, the improvement is nothing short of miraculous. The formula is hypoallergenic, and doesn't contain milk or soymilk; it seems to be basically water, sugar, DHA, and all of the minerals and vitamins, with a touch of tapioca starch. It is the fourth formula we have tried. Of course, it is more than twice the cost of the other formulas, but if it makes Sami feel so great, and allows her to sleep, it is worth every penny. Again, I am cautiously optimistic, because last time we made a formula change, it also seemed to be a miraculous fix, but the fix only lasted three days and then all of her symptoms came back.

Today, Sami also had her hip ultrasound that was recommended by both the NICU doctor when she was discharged from the hospital, and her pediatrician, due to the fact that she was in a breech position. The radiologist who did the ultrasound said that everything looked great. The pediatrician had told us already she expected everything to be fine, and the ultrasound was just a precaution. So today has been a good day all the way around!

Sami now also weigh just under 7 pounds. So she is now the size of a small newborn! I am very happy about that, even though she is 8 weeks old. People that see her stop me and remark all the time that she must have "just been born." I am constantly explaining that she is older than she looks because she was a preemie. The pediatrician is very happy with her weight gain; she weighs almost double her birth weight now. I keep telling Sami to take advantage of the fact that gaining weight for her is such a good thing, and warning her that is is one of the few times in a girl's life that gaining weight will make her happy. LOL.

Next Wednesday, she will be having the first half of her two-month vaccinations, with the other half coming two weeks later. The pediatrician wants to divide them up due to her small size, which is fine with me.

Sami is really doing so well, except for the congestion caused by her reflux and the screaming and crying brought on by being colic. The pediatrician is always amazed at Sami's head and neck control, and though Sami is now just under 7 pounds, she can already roll over!

Our only obstacle is the colic, congestion and acid reflux, but I have high hopes for the new formula she began today. I will keep the updates coming.

Monday, December 20, 2010

RIP Shakespeare

It's been a little while since I've written. Early Monday morning on Dec. 20, just a little bit after midnight, we lost Shakespeare. He was only 8 years old, and was such a special member of our family. We have been truly grieving, and missing him so very much. We lost two precious cats this year. We lost Loki just four months ago. The only consolation I have is believing that Shake and Loki are together right now. RIP Shakespeare. You are missed more than I can say. We love you, and will never forget you, and all of the unique characteristics you always showed, which are way too many to list here. Our home will never be the same without you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Our cat Shakespeare is in the animal hospital tonight on IV fluids. After tonight if everything goes OK he will be at the vet for another 48 hours being monitored. He is nearing kidney failure, but there's a lot of hope from us and from the vet that we caught it on time. The next couple of days are crucial. If you are reading this, please keep Shakespeare in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Well I am pretty much back to work full time.

Thursday I need to start my day getting started with a couple of articles that are due on Tuesday afternoon. Then at the end of the day, Sami and I will be taking a ride to one of my clients to pick up a ton of pages that I need to edit. They are hoping to have the edited pages back the end of the day on Friday, so I am expecting to work all day Friday and then Sami and I will bring the pages there the end of the day on Friday. If there are any pages I don't finish by then, I will take them back up early Monday morning. For the stories I have due on Tuesday afternoon, I will be doing as much as I can over the weekend, but because they are business-related and I have to interview people who work normal business hours, so I will be spending all of Monday doing my interviews and research, and then spending Tuesday finishing up the writing part. I am excited to be back at work, and because Sami is sleeping at least a little better I think I will be able to juggle both be a full time at-home mom, while also working full time. Yes, I'll be exhausted. But it's worth it to me to be able to keep Sami home and not send her to daycare any time soon. The truth I'm not ready to leave her in her in anyone else's care. I haven't even left her alone with my mother yet. For now, Sami and I are inseparable. :)

What this means though is that our house is back to being my office Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Since Sami has been home, we've gotten visits from my mother and a couple of others during the days. But being back at work, visits will go back to being in the evenings and weekends, since I really need to devote daytime to work, and need for the house to literally be my professional office during the weekdays. I am excited to get back to a bit of normalcy. :) '(Of course this all comes at the exact weekend when Steven's parents are coming down to meet their newest grandchild, but the evenings and weekend will allow a lot of time for them to spend time together.)

Today, Sami had her weekly appointment with the pediatrician. She is doing really great, and already working toward holding her head up. She now weighs 5 pounds and 14 ounces and is 19 and a half inches long! I can't believe how much she has grown. She is more beautiful each day, and every day I love her more than the day before, even though I don't know how that is possible. She is truly becoming the light of my life. Thank goodness her bassinet has wheels, because I roll her around a lot upstairs once she falls sleep in it, and put her next to my desk so I can watch her while I work. I love looking at her while I work. (Of course I love looking at her all of the time.)
Sami is going to stay on the new sensitive stomach formula, but when I make her formula I need to add a little less water (I have exact instructions from the pediatrician) so that I turn it into being a higher-calorie formula, to try to mimic the formula designed for premature babies. It's a little extra work, but it seems to keep her calmer, and perhaps she was getting stomach aches from the other formula, which is very rich. To keep her out of any pain, I do not mind the extra work at all.

awake at 4:30 a.m.

I missed a deadline for the first time in my professional life. An article that was due by close-of-business on Tuesday, I completed at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. Chances are that my editor would not have looked at it until Wednesday morning when she came in to the office anyway, but I am still disappointed. It was also very far from my best work. But it's done! So now onto the next deadline.

It's 4:15 a.m. and Sami has done tonight exactly what I predicted tonight. She slept very soundly all evening, even practically eating in her sleep during feedings. She screamed the majority of the afternoon (hence the reason for me missing my deadline), and then fell soundly asleep around 7 p.m. after her bath. Then even though I woke her up to feed her and tried to keep her awake as much as possible, she slept soundly all night until her 2:30 a.m. feeding. After she was done eating, I held for a little while and of course she screamed when I put her down, and has been awake ever since. All evening I told my sister and my mother that Sami was sleeping to save her energy so that she could scream all night. I was right. LOL. This is one case in which I wish I was wrong. Wednesday evening I am going to work very hard to keep her awake, with hopes she will sleep better at night. We shall see.

Yesterday was my sister's birthday. My sister and I kept telling Sami that she wasn't allowed to cry on Dec. 7 since it was her aunt's birthday. So aside from crying a couple of hours in the late afternoon, she decided to follow that rule, and waited for it to officially be Dec. 8 before she started crying again. Every time I put her down she raises her arms up, almost to ask to be picked up, but I know she is too young to know that gesture. I think she just likes to raise her arms up a lot.

In the afternoon, Sami has her weekly doctor appointment. She is doing well, and despite being awake now, has been sleeping a little bit better the past few days. It's funny that I almost look forward to her doctor appointments because it's one of the rare times I leave the house.

Yesterday I renewed my pre-paid cell phone (the one I use to speak to Elizabeth) for two more months. She has called me three times since Sami was born. The last time I heard from her was on Thanksgiving. She asked how the baby was doing (didn't ask her name or any details), and said she just wanted to with us a Happy Thanksgiving and tell us once again how happy she was that the baby was placed with us. I do not want her to call and find the number disconnected just yet, and her calls have been very few so I am comfortable keeping the telephone line open a bit longer.

The low tonight here is 37, which is very cold for us Floridians. We are all bundled up and have the heat on.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

another busy week

This is gearing up to be another busy week. One of my clients has a big editing project for me. I will be getting the work late Thursday and they need it completed by early Monday morning. They actually would like it back by the end of the day Friday, but are willing to wait until Monday morning if I need the weekend to complete it, which I am pretty sure will be the case. Sami has begun sleeping a little better, so I will keep her bassinet next to me while I work. I love having her close to me all the time.

I have another deadline due close-of-business today for another client, that I am struggling to meet. I am waiting now for a return phone call from a source I would need to interview for that article.

Tomorrow is Sami's weekly appointment with the pediatrician. She seems to be doing a little better on the sensitive-stomach formula, but I am not sure if it's enough of a difference to warrant switching her to this formula permanently, as the preemie formula has almost the double the vitamins and minerals as the other formula. It is designed to give preemies the nutrients they should have gotten from their mothers during the last two months of the pregnancy. I will discuss with the doctor the pros and cons, and will see what she advises.

There are other reasons Sami might be sleeping better. I found a way to elevate the mattress in her bassinet, and have packed lots of blankets around her in it as well. She seems to prefer to be elevated and tucked in. There is a chance she has reflux, which would explain her preference to be elevated. Last night we also spoke to someone at the baby store. He recommended a wedge that is made to be placed under crib mattresses for the same purpose. We purchased it but haven't tried it yet, because I haven't been putting her in her room in her crib the past few days, as her room seems to be the coldest room in the house. We also bought her a vibrating bouncer chair that is supposed to be great for babies with colic. I just finished washing all of the material on it, so I will be trying it out later to see how it works out for her.

This helpful employee's son was also born prematurely, so he was very helpful. His son was born weighing 5 pounds and 5 ounces (about two pounds bigger than Sami was when she was born), and he said that his son wore some of his preemie clothes for almost 6 months. I think I will be returning the newborn clothes that I purchased (the ones I haven't already cut the tags off of and washed), and just worry about buying new newborn clothes when she is ready for them. We bought a few more preemie outfits this week. I had been stalling buying new preemie clothes as I didn't expect her to wear them too long, but a lot of them are still roomy, and the newborn clothes are ridiculously huge on her. 0-3 month clothes are literally 4x the size of the preemie clothes. (I am not exaggerating. We compared them.)

At almost 5 weeks old, Sami is now probably the size of a very small newborn. She is definitely filling out, and looks different every day. Somehow she is even more beautiful every day.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I wish for sleep

It's almost 5:30 a.m. and I'm praying for Sami to fall back asleep sometime soon. She seemed to sleep a little better tonight, but now she's been awake since around 3:45 a.m. and does not seem to want to go to sleep, despite having her diaper changed, finishing a bottle, and getting lots of cuddling. Every time I set her down she screams. I brought her into her room a little while ago and set her in her crib, and I'm sitting in the glider chair talking to her and typing. She is still making noises, and is definitely still awake, but at least she isn't crying or screaming now. I am scared to leave the room because last time I tried, the second I left the room the screams started again.

Sami turned 1 month old on Saturday. I can't believe it. I don't know how I'll react when she turns 1 year old, 3 years old or 10 years old, considering that even her turning 1 month old made me feel that time was going to quickly.

I have a ton of work due Monday morning--pages I am editing and proofing for a ladies clothing catalog, which I am back to doing on a weekly basis. There are 92 pages for me to edit this weekend, which I need to drop off at their office Monday morning, and I think I've gotten about 5 pages done so far. LOL. I guess that is what I get for taking a nap tonight for two hours while Sami was sleeping. Because she sleeps so little, I'm just so tired and sometimes I want to nap when she sleeps, but I really need to be working when she is sleeping. Since I am so wide awake now, if she falls asleep any time soon, I may try to do a little more work this morning before going to sleep. I am trying to keep her room semi-dark (just a small light is on in the corner) and it's not enough light to proof pages or I would be doing it now. I have about 29 hours before I need to take Sami for a car-ride to drop of the completed pages Monday morning. I thought it wouldn't be so difficult to get this project done, since I had the weekend to complete it, but somehow time still got the best of me.

Sami is still making lots of little noises, and her eyes are still wide open. Since she is actually not screaming or crying, I am fighting the urge to pick her up, and am just letting her remain in her crib. My eyes are now beginning to get heavy, but I know if I leave the room, her little pipes will start shrieking again.

It's starting to get a little cold outside-- well it's cold for us Floridians. It's been in the 50s at night, and by mid-week it is expected to be 40 degrees at night.

Sami's noises are starting to get louder now, and are seeming to be getting into the crying/screaming phase, so I am going to sign off now.

The other day one of my friends posted a poll on facebook asking what everyone is hoping to receive this Christmas or Hanukkah. My answer was simple: "sleep."

Friday, December 3, 2010

back to work

As of Friday morning, I will back to work. My three regular clients all suddenly contacted me on Thursday asking me if I am ready to work. I do not want to, and honestly cannot afford to, lose them permanently, so I agreed to begin to work regularly again to keep their business.

Friday morning (in just a few hours) I will be taking Sami for a 40-minute ride to pick up pages I need to edit over the weekend, and then will be dropping them back off on Monday morning. Then I have two large stories due by close-of-business Tuesday.

I still haven't figured out how I am going to work all day on tight deadlines while caring for Sami at home, since I work from home, and especially after nights of no sleep. I was hoping to be able to wait to get back to work until she wasn't up all night and day, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen.

Tonight I got moody and antsy because I do not really leave the house aside from the weekly pediatrician appointments, and I'm cranky from sleeping so little. I felt like my life is the only one that has changed at all when I watched Steven leave to play basketball for the third time this week, while my days and nights revolve around trying to juggle work and taking care of Sami. I really do not want to complain because I love every second I spend with her. She truly lights up my life. I was just cranky because I am functioning on such a little amount of sleep. Steven did take over walking the dogs in the morning and evenings, cleaning the cats' litter boxes and feeding the animals, and helping clean the house when he gets home from being at work all day, but I admit I am still selfishly jealous that he sleeps at night and still gets to break away from the house. And on top of everything else, the symptoms in my back and foot are beginning to resurface, most likely because I haven't been able to go to the gym and do all the exercises prescribed by my physical therapist. I need to find a way to get back there 4 times a week like I had been doing before Sami was born. My therapist told me that I need to think of going to the gym, and doing the specific exercises and stretches, as my job, as it is a necessity in trying to avoid back surgery. It is extremely important for me to get back to that routine.

I honestly feel so guilty complaining, because I know how lucky I am to have her. I think just the tiredness catches up with me and I need to vent.

I am happy to be getting back to work and back to writing on a regular basis, I just wish I didn't have to get back to it only two weeks after Sami is home from the hospital, and while she is still so colicky and not sleeping. But it will be nice to see adults tomorrow. I am not sure if I will actually see more than one adult, because someone is meeting me outside with the pages I will be editing, so that I do not have to bring Sami into the building where about 200 people work, as I am still trying very hard for her to avoid germs. I am lucky they are willing to work with me that way.

I am also lucky to be working from home. If I had to go back to an office this early and leave Sami in someone else's care, I do not think I could do it. Yes, I do know it will be challenging to work while also taking care of her, but the benefits of getting to spend my time with this beautiful and amazing child are so worth it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

4 weeks old

Sami's doctor appointment went well. Sami is already trying to hold her head up, is extremely strong, and not showing any signs of being a preemie aside from her small size, which isn't so small anymore in my opinion, even though everyone that sees her continues to tell me that she is tiny. She is over 5 pounds now, and to me looks so much bigger than the baby I held in the NICU every day. Newborn clothes are still too big for her, so she is still wearing preemie clothes for the time being.

The only somewhat-bad news from her appointment is that the doctor thinks that most likely Sami's all-night, and sometimes all-day screaming, means she may be colic. We are trying out a different formula this week for sensitive stomachs to rule out the chance that her high-calorie preemie formula is not agreeing with her and causing her stomach pains. But the doctor is not optimistic the formula change will make a difference. If it doesn't help by next week's appointment, she will be put back on her preemie formula, which is better for her development, and be diagnosed as colic, and we will have to deal with a screaming, but lovable and adorable, baby for the next few months until the symptoms subside.

Sami is four weeks old today. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

so tired....

Sami finally just fell back asleep and it's 7:35 a.m. I fell asleep around 1 a.m., woke up at 4 a.m. and have been awake since then. But at least that is 3 hours of sleep, considering the night before I got 0 hours of sleep. I gave her a bottle around 6:30 a.m., and she ate extremely slowly, as she was finally getting tired.

I am now off to try to get a little sleep before her doctor appointment...

She's a crier!!

Sami has her weekly appointment with the pediatrician today. She's doing great, except for the fact that she is very fussy, doesn't sleep through the night (even though I wake her every few hours to feed her, she doesn't sleep solid during the times between the feedings), and screams at the top of her lungs sometimes and it's hard to console her for quite a while. Sometimes once she gets a bottle it calms her down, but she seems to want to eat sometimes every two hours. I'm hoping that we can increase her from 2 1/2 ounces (which she eats now) to 3 ounces, and maybe that will help the situation, since most of the time she eagerly finishes the 2 1/2 ounces. We have to be careful though to give her too much at a time due to her small stomach size.

I'm curious to find out how much she has grown. I keep telling everyone that she is getting so big. Most people laugh at me, and tell me that she is tiny. My mom laughed at me today. She asked me what size her clothes were. I told her they were still preemie clothes and that newborn was still way too big. So she reminded me that if she is still wearing preemie clothes, then she is still very small. She did agree that her face has filled out a lot, and she definitely looks bigger than she did at her 3 pound 9 ounce birth weight, but that she is still very small. But seriously, I do not think she is small anymore! Maybe it's because I'm with her 24/7 and notice every change, but to me she seems to have grown so much. I'm expecting her to weigh around 5 pounds and 3 ounces today, considering the pediatrician said she should gain about 1 ounce a day for a little while, but we shall see.

In other news, Steven fed Sami for the first time!! It was a huge help to me to have one feeding break, especially since last night Sami pulled one of her all-nighters and I had literally been awake more than 24 hours. I had finally just fallen asleep when Sami decided to scream, and Steven got up and fed her. I had taught him how to heat a bottle and how to feed her and burp her a little while ago, and he finally did it! This was a very momentous occasion for me, as I finally got a break for one feeding!!

She did of course wake up an hour later, and has been awake ever since so I am up with her now, but the break was still nice. She is actually in her room, in her crib right now, and I am sitting in the glider chair with my laptop. She seems to know that I am here because she stopped crying when I came in the room. I didn't even pick her up, just went up to the crib where she looked up at me, stopped crying and went back to sleep. But she is making a lot of noise and is being fussy, and every time I leave the room she starts to scream bloody murder. I am not sure if me being in the room is comforting for her, or if it's the sound of clicking of the keys on my computer, but no matter what the reason, if it's keeping her calm, I'm not moving. LOL